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Discussion in 'MacBytes.com News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Oct 15, 2004.
Category: Mac OS X
Link: OS X- The best Unix desktop.
Posted on MacBytes.com
Approved by Mudbug
For something, yes, I agree.
I don't see Windows mentioned anywhere in there.
It did say Windows has quite a good Help option. Maybe because it needs it more than most
I'm glad to see others coming around to my point of view.
Three years ago, I started shopping for a new computer. I was fed up with Windows and was primarily using Linux on my PC. I decided that the new machine would have to be a UNIX box. My choices were either a new PC, running Linux, an inexpensive Sun workstation running Solaris, or a Mac running OS X.
After doing a lot of evaluation, I decided that Linux has a great user community, Sun has a better overall product (but little third-party hardware support), and Apple has full support for Mac apps in addition to Unix apps.
I ended up getting the Mac (a dual 1GHz G4 tower). I found that its Unix layer, while not the same as Linux or Solaris, is full-featured and every bit as usable, plus I get a much larger selection of commercial software to choose from. (Although there are far more Windows apps than Mac apps, there are way more consumer-oriented commercial apps for MacOS than for Linux or Solaris.)
And, after using it for a few months, I found that I actually prefer working in the Mac environment after all. I still open terminals for some kinds of activities, but for the most part, I find myself running and enjoying my Mac apps. Which is a lot better than I would have done with Linux or Solaris - with them I'd be mostly dependant on open source, with very little of it havign a good UI (like FileMaker and iTunes.)
Duh!! Windows isn't a Unix desktop!!
I understand exactly what he is saying and for the same reasons disagree.
But just about every other desktop that runs on a UNIX treats the underlying system as part of the desktop. Just not true for OS X.
Example: every GUI app I have running on my Linux machine is accesible, straight after installation from the command line. OS X requires ugly and tedious scripts to get the same effect.
Where he critcises KDE etc. for the barriers placed for the 'average' user so OS X goes too far the other way and places too many barriers to make it any 'better'.
As one of the comments reads, 'decent is defined as "something my Mom can use."' - I simply think that decent needs also to add 'and as easy to customise as Linux'.
" I simply think that decent needs also to add 'and as easy to customise as Linux'."
When your trying to get work done who wants to waste time to "customize" the OS. Get my stuff done and sling back some brews.
How is "open -a Program" an ugly and tedious script? Besides, where is "open" in Linux+Gnome/KDE? How do you open the associated application for a certain file from the command line in Linux and KDE without writing a tedious DCOP script? Or manipulating the clipboard?
What's great about this UNIX desktop is that you can put it in the hands of an 8 year old and they jump right in without missing a step
I'm curious what you mean by the underlying system being part of the desktop. What does that make me miss out on as an OS X user?
Are you saying that "most desktop users, and certainly most enterprise desktop users" want to access their GUI apps "straight after installation from the command line"?
To summarise from earlier comments, which are all going to be in the same vein.
Having gone through vue, various CDE, assorted versions of GNOME and KDE and currently very happy using a vanilla windowmaker or blackbox, OS X has been the first one that has, for me, tangibly interferred with a common UNIX interface. It is not the big picture but frequent niggles or things that have been overlooked, which I have elaborated below.
Which autocompletes how?
Missing the point - add all the extras you like, but why change something that has managed to be consistent for god knows how long?
A couple of other examples that spring to mind (illustrate nagromme's questions):
Open up Mac Help and search for samba. First (and last?) port of call for documentation. Now I cannot find the link the the man page for samba from here, despite a fulls set of man pages being present already (the best I have so far found is a comment "For more information on the finger command open up a Terminal and type man finger" - that was from a search for cups!).
As a practical need for this, to set up a printer I had to edit cups.conf, something that I would never have known about were it not for the fact I had already set up the same printer under Linux.
I really like xcode - in my opinion the best free IDE available. But when I go to setup and include search path, why is impossible to navigate to /usr/local/include to grab subdirectories for headers I have installed there - it like seemed obvious place (or even navigate the unix hierarchy using Finder by default)?
Burning a CD in Finder : drag files and click burn. What could be easier? Well it was until I decided to stick the CD in a Linux box where upon I can't access it because just about every other unix out there will not ignore the permissions by default. cdrecord, as some common cd burning software, sets appropriate permissions for sharing a CD as a straightforward switch. Despite a lengthy search (and feel free to point out the best way as my only interest is only in getting the best system possible) I cannot find an option in Finder to do something similar.
The author praises the user friendliness of OS X - I am not going to argue, Apple have a great system there but I am somewhat irked that they seem to have obscured and complicated a number of facets that I have (maybe mistakenly) always taken for granted.
You could make a good case that Apple make the best GENERIC desktop because they have focused on the largest group of users. However, if OS X really is that great a UNIX desktop, why is it that just about every Mac user coming with any Linux/Unix experience seems to have fink installed to get the tools they want? While loads of Linux users have chosen (like me) to buy *Books, far fewer have moved their desktops / workstations over (can't see it happening for a number of reasons).
I simply think that a UNIX desktop should place as few barriers between the classic UNIX environment which should not be lost in the process of making it easy to use for everyone else. The author seems happy that a long and established user base should not receive the same attention and I disagree, although I understand his point of view. Times do change.
Net result : I don't think that it is significantly 'better' than the other desktops.
I would agree entirely - but if there is something fundamental I can change to do this better, then the net result is more drinking time, affected only by the time and effort it takes to effect that change.